DIY BARBECUE

Barbecue

With the camper van I realized that I need a reusable barbecue. So what does someone with a little welding experience and some scrap metal do?

Simply make one…

I had the remains of a metal case from an old printing press…

With an hour of bodging, welding and generally mucking about it was finished.

More by luck than judgment it was the same width as the wheel ramps.  This is important as everything has to have a place.

Disposable barbecue…Pff…

img_0481

Faceless Drone

 

Two weeks ago I attended a speed awareness course.  An option offered instead of receiving 3 points on my driver’s license. In the UK we can only have 12 points before it is taken away for a compulsory ban. Points can be accrued for being a little over the speed limit, using a handheld mobile phone, etc, etc.

In my case, it was for doing 35 mph in a 30 limit. I will say that this was not in a town, but between two villages on the Northeast coast of Britain. Also, I did not know the area, had my mother and her dogs in the car. Thankfully I could attend the course here in Cornwall.

 

The little room was full of a mix of people and diverse ages apart from the very young. All levels of experience and knowledge, from the commercial driver to the little old lady who only pops down to the shops. Those taking the course were driving instructors. Their aim, to partake a little knowledge to those who were there simply to avoid the points.  Both were good people and very articulate. Like a group of naughty school children, we sat at the start and shared how we got caught. The recent changes in the highway code, refreshed areas we had forgotten…It also informed us how car design has changed, for instance how stopping distances have been reduced with antilock brakes. Why more people survive accidents thanks to airbags, how cars now deform when others impact them, etc.

 

All which is very good, but and this is major but, cars are now not only filled with distractions but also they have major blind spots. With ever increasing levels of safety, car pillars are becoming far wider. If you compare a car from the 60’s, 70’s or early 80’s they seem so light and airy. The blind spots are far less. Now yes, it does make them less safe in the event of an accident, but arguably it makes some accidents far less likely.

 

Within recent years there is more and more electronic interference in the driving experience. Electric power steering can rob all tyre feel. For example, I drove a modern automatic supermini to near London and back again in April. It was far more like a simulator than it should have been. The car gave no feedback to what was going on beyond the windscreen. Many messages of the changing conditions bypassed. Often it was only my experience that helped to fill the gaps. At low speed the car is amazing, but it was not a driver’s car in any shape or form. The auto-box is not the traditional torque converter, but a more modern electronic clutch,taking away feel and choice. There are tricks an experienced driver can do with a torque converter that can help in difficult conditions. Those options are taken from the driver and therefore reduces control.

The designer of the original Mini, Sir Alec Issigonis, gave it the most amazing handling. Anyone has ever driven one fell in love it almost immediately. When asked why, Sir Alec replied, “it made the car safer for the district nurse, the young mother.” Instead of making a car that was soul destroying to drive, he went the other way. He saw safety in the ability of the driver to react. Of course, he accidently created one the greatest rally cars of all time…

I drive a MK 3 Golf convertible, she is old, tired and battered. She really should not be used the way I do, often overloaded and pulling a trailer. Yet, of all the cars I’ve owned and driven, she is my second favourite. A simple car with amazing visibility and such fun to drive. Every journey is an adventure not because I wonder when or if she will break down.

Driving can be a joy… Well when not caught in an endless traffic jam, and even then the odd roundabout calls.

 

Sadly, we are heading towards driverless cars as they become metal boxes of convenience. Each new technology takes us a little further away from the joy of driving. As a result, the level of awareness on British road is becoming truly awful. In many ways, the change to complete driverless cars cannot happen fast enough. Then we can all become the faceless drones that many would like us to be.

 

I will still remember the call of the open road. My fear is that soon all I will have are those memories.

 

Footnote

Since this blog was originally posted I’ve bought a Suzuki Vitara(Tugg) so accidental speeding is much less of a problem.

First Week With Tugg

img_1228

Until I bought the Vitara (Tugg) I had never driven a small  4×4. To be honest my first impression was quite frankly terrifying. Having driven countless cars and vans it is rare anything surprises me, yet the Vitara did. If I had test driven it before purchase I may not have bought it. Yes, I really was that unnerved. Compared to my MK3 Golf convertible it felt tall, narrow, did not accelerate, stop or handle.

After purchase, I drove it 5 miles or so to a friend’s place. Left it until picking it up the following day. That drive back in the dark and heavy rain was really one the worst of my life. I knew the Vitara made sense for work, but I was not sure if I could put up with it.

After some teething issues, I settled down to using her on a daily basis. Funny thing is after a week of driving Tugg in a variety of conditions I have to admit I was wrong.

On the road, the handling is really not as bad as I first thought. In a funny way it does handle, even well enough to surprise a newer BMW whilst I followed it up a particularly twisty road. I should mention I was towing my empty trailer at the time. On the dual carriageway, it is happy at 70 mph. At much more than that the petrol consumption is as frightening as I thought the handling was initially. The high seating combined with the large glass area gives a clear view ahead. Yes, it does pitch over bumps but you get used to it. The brakes… well yes, they do work in a way. Compared to the Golf, or any modernish car they are rubbish. A firm shove is needed and all that happens is the suspension absorbs most of the initial force. Yet they do work, you simply have to readjust your driving style.

This covers the on-road experience, but then you don’t buy a 4×4 to drive on the road. Well, most people only get as far as the odd grass verge. But I bought it for some gentle off-roading for both work and pleasure. So with a friend we did a little exploring on a Byway Open to All Traffic(BOAT). Tug performed with aplomb, the track was narrow and a little muddy but fairly level. My passenger smiled as I snuck the drive into 4 high and selected first. We trundled along the track for perhaps half a mile at 10 mph worrying a little about scratching the paintwork. Only a slight bank at the end of the track provided anything like a challenge. We grinned at each other as we crested it. Our first off-roading experience was fun.

Later after eating fish and chips overlooking the sea at Perranporth we decided to have another go on a BOAT. Having grown up in the area I knew one that cut across Cubert common. Having not been on it for 20 years I had no idea of the condition of the track. We headed through the gate, stopped for a moment admiring the distant lights. I chose low range and first gear to minimize any damage and to maximize control. My friend was a little worried about how close we were to the cliff despite my reassurances. We trundled into the dark down a track that I knew would get far worse.

The first 100 hundred yards was gentle, but then as the track dropped down it became rougher.  A 9-inch drop on one side did not represent any form of challenge, just a little fun. A bit further down between high sand banks the track got a lot worse. After a little careful consideration, we decided to cross to the verge. The angle of lean was more extreme than we were used too, but nothing to be worried about. Soon after the track became better and we had completed our second green lane or BOAT.

I have to admit that Vitara really surprised me on the second track. She performed in a manner that inspired complete confidence.

After a week of driving Tugg, I’ve fallen for her charms.  I do smile when I drive her after adapting my driving style… Despite her small size, she can carry an amazing amount of gear.

I’m even considering giving her a wash and polish…

 

Living With Tugg

Living with Tugg

img_1285

These blogs are being written on time but published a little later due to launch dates for Classicaraddict. The reasons that I’m doing this is that owning any interesting vehicle is an ongoing experience. Trying to capture those daily moments retrospectively simply does not work.

So after almost 4 weeks what has the experience been like?

To be honest there has been good and bad. In an earlier post, I’ve written how scary driving her at first was. Yet after only a few days and about 200 miles I started to learn how to listen. As I write I’ve driven about 800 miles in all conditions and sometimes with a trailer.

I also spent a little time reading how to use a four-wheel drive properly. For in that aspect and despite their image to some the Vitara is proper 4×4 with separate chassis, lockable front hubs, and a low range box.

The grubby bits are all new to me. Using them is learning experience, for instance, the low range box. When reversing up a friend’s steep driveway instead of slipping the clutch I placed it into low range and let it climb at idle. This is not mentioned in anything I’ve read or seen, yet with a little thought makes perfect sense.

Of course, I did not buy Tugg for reversing up steep slopes.  I bought her for helping me with my day job of working as a gardener. My client base is not urban but is rural with larger gardens.  The Golf did sterling work but did mean that often I had to lug my equipment long distances.  The Vitara makes my life much simpler, I can get a lot closer and combined with my trailer means I can provide a better service to my clients.

For instance, last week when working in a large field we had to move the previously cut bracken. With a wheelbarrow, it would have been a thankless slog. With Tugg and a trailer what would have been at least 3 hours work was completed in less than one. I also had a lot of fun driving around the field carefully in low range. I did try to keep to my own wheel tracks to minimize any possible damage and kept the speed really low. Even on road tyres I was impressed.

The day before when taking some wood from a client I drove up a track that I had got the Golf stuck on a few weeks before.  It was not steep, but really muddy and slippy. Having had the previous experience I approached with caution.

img_1276

In low range Tugg was amazing, the incline was not great but what made the Golf struggle was simply not an issue.  After turning her carefully around I then loaded the trailer up.

Going back down the track was slightly more exciting with the trailer pushing Tugg at an angle.  With low range engaged all was kept under control. One of the first lessons of offroading applied. Use the slowest speed that is sensible for the conditions.

Those are good things.

The bad is that fuel consumption is worse than I hoped. This is perhaps affected  by towing the trailer a lot. Even so, compared to the Golf it is not good.

There is little more rust than I had hoped.  Not a major amount, but one repair is going to be little laborious than expected. Doing it will push my welding experience to its limits. I’m sure it will not be an issue, more a challenge. Also, I’m a little behind on the maintenance having not even changed the petrol filter.

Overall I’m finding Tugg really useful and look forward to further adventures.

Naming a car?

Why is it that some cars get names and others do not? I’ve own lots of cars and bikes and most have never earnt a nickname. Even some of my favourites never got christened beyond a shortened version their model or make. For instance, when I had a Jaguar XK40 2.9 it was simply known as The Jag… with my best Jeremy Clarkson voice in my head of course.

My latest vehicle earnt a name in a few days. With a registration number, T324UUG my first thought was to call her Uug. On second thoughts with a tow bar at each end, the only name she could have was Tugg.  My last VW Golf was called Erica, now the story how she got her name is strange but not for this blog. Oddly like boats all my cars have had female names. Perhaps that is something to do with my relationship with them, a closeness that becomes truly intimate on a regular basis.

Some will argue that cars are just inanimate lumps of plastic, rubber, and steel. Of course, we know otherwise. The ones we fall for are much more, they transcend boundaries that allow them to worm themselves into our hearts.

 

Below is a list of some the cars I’ve owned that got christened.

 

 

Triumph Dolomite 1500- Dolly

Triumph Spitfire 1500-  Spitty.

VW Golf MK3 Convertible- Erica

VW T25 Holdsworth Vision- Holly. My mother used to call her “Old Girl” for me to call her this would be disrespectful, hence Holly.

Ford Capri MK3 1.6/2.0- Evil Bob.

Suzuki Vitara- Tugg.

Another Dolomite 1500- Dolly Mixture

Talbot Samba-Tappet.. Because it sounded like it did not have any left.

 

Not all the names make sense, but then why should they?

My Top 5 Cars, Ish

Skoda Estelle

skoda-2

My first car with four wheels…

Bought from a friend for next to nothing and the car I had to pass my test for. Cheap, fun and oddly endearing. Let down due to the odd design of the engine with an alloy block and steel cylinder head.

Great for off road driving.

 

Vauxhall Astra SXI Estate

 astra-estate

From the auction when we needed a cheap estate car. Being a Vauxhall it was simple but well thought out. The surprise with this car was the engine, it was like having an SRI engine in an estate. In the wet, the front wheels would spin in the first 3 gears, such fun.

 

Triumph Dolomite 1500

bike-and-dolly

I bought this car in 1999 from the local car auction for £60. It was 24 years old at the time and still in reasonable condition. At the auction, it was making a sharp whistling noise. It turned out that the brake servo was leaking and that was the cause of the noise. Great car and started my love affair with Triumphs.

 

Suzuki Vitara

img_1219

My most recent vehicle has made it onto the list which is a surprise.I do not need to go into details as that is covered in other blog posts.Needless to say that I really enjoy owning Tugg.

 

Peugeot 406 Estate 1.8

406-loaded

This car proves that I do not hate all French cars. I took the 406 in exchange from a friend. It had no mot but looked fairly solid. It passed without too much trouble. The car had almost 200,000 miles but drove like it had half that. That summer my mother moved from Cornwall to the Northeast and the car did the journey several times. Often loaded to the max without complaint. On one return trip I even managed to drive 297 miles without changing gear.

A truly amazing car that strangely shares much with the Citroen Xantia.

 

BMW E28 5 Series Auto

 the-best-bmw-2-1

Another car from my local auction…

Having lusted after a ‘shark nose’ 5 series for a while this turned up, I had just sold the Rover 416 and needed something interesting to drive.  This is one the few cars I wish I still had. It was comfortable, well-made and fun to drive.  It also had real a presence on the road. I drove this car to Scotland  at 80 on the motorway,  it was an effortless journey.

The best part was the wonderful engine. Compared to my friends 4.2 Daimler Sovereign it was more spacious, faster and a lot more economical.

 

 

Ford Capri MK3 1.6/ 2.0

 two-capris-1

This car was bought locally for £100 when my Citroen BX snapped the cambelt at Christmas. Both the then girlfriend and I were working away at the time and we needed transport quickly.  After packing my girlfriend off to her parents in a taxi I started to look for a cheap car, any car. The Auction was shut so I started to walk around Penryn. I found the Capri in a pub car park marked up for £130. I bought the car for £100. It was an MK 3 Capri in black and looked a little battered.  The engine burnt a valve out a few weeks later so with a friend we replaced it with a 2 liter Pinto lump out of a Ford Sierra. This transformed the car into something special. Friends said I needed windscreen wipers on the side windows as I spent so much time driving it sideways.

A truly great car and much more fun the 3 liter one I owned at the same time.

 

Yamaha Fz 600

img_0623

A motorcycle on my list of favourite cars… Well, it is my list and I can do what I want. I’ve had lots of motorcycles and this is my favourite.

The Fz600 is sublime. Not fast but such fun on tight twisting roads.

 

MK 3 VW Golf Convertible

img_0844

I bought this car when needing a replacement for the Picasso, having owned another MK3 Golf I knew how much fun they are to drive. Whilst it might not seem the most sensible car for a gardener. In an odd way, it was. It would tow my trailer with ease and always a joy to drive. Mostly roof down I might add. It was not the most reliable car during the 14 months I owned it. Every time I got behind the wheel I loved driving it. Once again other blog posts cover my experience in more detail.

A truly special car.

 

Triumph Spitfire 1500

 spit-snow

My favourite car…

After driving a friend’s MG MGB convertible I knew I wanted a British sports car.

I did look at a Jensen Healey. Look is all I did before common sense kicked in.

When picking a friend up from Newquay Airport I spotted the Spitfire parked at the side of the road. Right from the first moment, it was if they had designed a car around a 6ft scruffy yob. For almost 5 years I drove this car every day and loved it. There is something truly magical about small British sports cars and for me, my Spitfire 1500 was the most special. Over those years I took apart just about everything on the Spitfire. So many great drives with the roof down and her green dash lights glowing in the dark as we round our way through the tight Cornish lanes.

One day I will have another.

 

 

Honourable Mentions

 

Classic Mini

img_1338

Anyone who has ever driven Sir Alec’s masterpiece instantly fell in love with it. My partner then wife had a couple. I had the pleasure of driving them often.

Total joy and everything a small car should be. The best driver’s car on this list by far.

 

Austin Metro

metro

What a Metro gains a place the honourable mentions list?

Shock horror. Well, it does for several reasons and I have had 3, two MG’s and a left-hand drive 1 liter.

I passed my driving test in one. Had one when I moved house. For a small car, they have an amazing amount of space inside. The most surprising thing about Metros are is that they are 90% the fun of the original Mini.

 

VW T25

img_0398

Holly is covered in other blog posts.  Needless to say that I truly love looking after her.

Bad Cars

Bad Cars

We all have our favourite cars but what about the worst we have owned?

I ask this question as an ex-Reliant Robin owner.

Having lots of cars over the years I’m limiting it to the bottom 5 of the ones I’ve owned.

Starting with least bad first,

Rover 416.

I bought this car from a local auction about 10 years ago, it was cheap but still not cheap enough. Having previously driven one whilst working for a local print firm I expected to be fairly nice. It wasn’t.  That car had been well maintained and was in reasonable condition. It turns out that they did not age well say, unlike say Fords or Vauxhalls. They become deeply unpleasant to drive and own as they aged. I had it for 3 weeks and for 2 of those brother borrowed it. I use the past tense as most now have died along with the company that made them.

The Rover is properly one the reasons we don’t speak anymore.

Hyundai Lantra Estate

 

This car came from a friend at work and was in reasonable condition. It was cheap and oddly nice looking. The interior was nothing special but was well spec’d with all the toys like central locking, electric windows, and mirrors. If I remember it look like Hyundai had raided the MK 6 Ford Escort parts bin.

This car is on the list because I drove it a few days after buying it to South Wales, a journey of about 230 miles. Near my designation, I pulled into a supermarket to get a few things. When I walked out not only could I not remember where I had parked but  also what I had been driving for the last 3 hours.

A car has to be really dull to be so forgettable.

Volvo 360 GLT

I was given this car twice, once from a friend at work and once again from my sister-in-law.

At the time the price of scrap was really low so cheap cars were worthless. This was a nicely made little car and being near the top of the range came with heated seats and all the normal toys. It was comfortable to sit in and that is where the positives stop.

First, the dashboard seemed strangely low and the windscreen deep. This helped create an unnerving sensation when driving. Secondly, they are narrow cars with a short wheelbase. It would pitch and wallow given the slightest chance. As for handling, it simply didn’t, going from understeer to oversteer and back again in fractions of a second.

This is the worst car for the driving experience on this list.

Suzuki Gs500 

img_0272

A motorcycle on the list  of worst cars?  Well, this bike deserves a place on anyone list of bad vehicles. Not that it is bad in any particular area apart from possibly build quality. No ,it earns a place on the list simply because it is so dull. How anyone can design and build a motorcycle so lacking in character is beyond me. I’ve owned this bike twice and on both occasions, it has almost put me off motorcycling for good.

If the government wants to stop people riding motorcycles, make the Gs500 compulsory. Biking would be dead in weeks.

Citroen Xantia 1.8 Estate

 xantia

Once again this car was originally a gift, but sometimes gifts are not what they seem.

I was given this car and drove it back from Scotland to Cornwall. It was large, roomy, comfortable, good looking and fun to drive. So is it in the wrong list then?

Err no. Being a Citroen it means it is French, and that means cheap parts that impossible to get replacements for and really poor build quality. The self-leveling suspension adjusters would seize meaning the headlights even on dip would dazzle oncoming drivers. The front and rear ones used to take turns. The electric windows would break due to poor design and cheap components.

A truly nice car destroyed by cost-cutting and build quality.

Citroen Picasso

 

 crap-wagon

My bottom two cars are Citroen’s, so do I hate French cars?

No is the simple answer, but I’m not impressed with later ones.

I bought this car last year from friends so I could stop using the camper van for my gardening business.  It did have a lot of space in it and was comfortable. The design is total rubbish the stupid shape means that judging where the car is on the road is impossible.  The dashboard reflects onto the windscreen in the sunshine so that the already difficult job of judging the position of the car on the road becomes even worse. Luckily living in Cornwall sunshine is less of an issue than in other parts of the UK. The build quality is down to the expected low standards of more modern French cars. I will admit to killing this car in less than 6 weeks, and I consider it a mercy killing. These cars are so bad on so many levels. Poor design and crappy quality combine to produce the worst car I’ve ever owned.
If you drive a Picasso it might be time to question what has gone wrong with your life.

Bonus car

 

Peugeot 107

Another French car, Oh.

I only have driven this car and not owned it so my impressions are purely based on that. One day in April I drove over 500 miles in it on a large variety of roads and conditions.

The model I did this in was a 1.2 with a modern automatic gearbox.

It was fairly comfortable for a small car, even for my 6 ft frame and size 12 feet. It also seemed to be good on fuel. The cabin is simple but pleasant but with a lot of exposed plastic.

So why is it on this list?

First, I believe small cars should be fun to drive, from the original Mini to a 1.2 Fiat Punto I had they all have been fun. I borrowed a Toyota Yaris to pick a friend up from Bristol Airport and it was a real surprise. Not the most interesting car on the motorway but on a road with corners a fun experience.

The problems with the 107 came down to 2 things.

First is the electric power steering. It robs all feel from the tyres which mean it also takes all the pleasure away for anyone who enjoys driving. Oddly both the Yaris and the Punto had electric power steering that still provided feedback. So that is a problem with the car.

Second is the gearbox…

Traditional torque converter automatic gearboxes are fun to use. An experienced driver understands how they work can use them to help control the car. With an electronic gearbox, those choices are gone, along with any feel. The car changed up and down at odd times, sometimes getting confused when trying to pull out into heavy traffic.

I suspect as they age the normal crappy levels of French build quality will mean that they will do so badly…

What could be a great car became mediocre at best and hence has earnt a place on my list of bad cars.

Footnote… I have since driven a slightly older Citroen C1 and it was fun. Everything that a small car should be. So perhaps the Puregrot 107 was simply a bad one.

Assessing a Car

img_1215

How do I assess a car?

There are two ways to buying a cheap used car, the fast and the slow.

You can spend hours examining every aspect if buying from a dealer or privately. Or you can assess one in under two minutes. Sometimes less.

So what do I look for?

My most recent purchase caught my attention with its clearly displayed price and condition.

That depends on the situation, and it far easier when buying either privately or from a dealer. At an auction, things are very different, and even the best-prepared person can get caught out with when something previously dismissed or not even noticed becomes interesting simply because it was so cheap. Yet the basic principle is still the same.

What does our instinct tell us, and at the very worst, how much is the scrap value? Or if you have space, break it for parts for every car is worth far more that way.

What about the Vitara?

Its colour is metallic blue, and all the shades match, the body kit, and bumpers in silver. Both colours are really hard to match so any past damage would show. Apart from a few minor rust patches all was good and original. In fact for a car of its age, remarkably so. A quick look under it confirmed the chassis looked nice and solid along with the floors of the body. The exhaust also seemed to be ok along with the tyres. Of course with a 4×4 all of this is far easier. But any problems must be judged for hassle and time. If I was buying to sell on it would be slightly different. When buying a car for my own use I will put up with far more.

The classic joke is that a lot of mechanics drive scruffy cars that on closer inspection are mechanically sound. I personally like less complex cars, wind up windows are not an issue, no central locking, etc, etc are all good. Electrical connections suffer from age. So many good cars with lots of minor issues that become major hassles when older get scrapped.

The interior reminded me of a Triumph Acclaim I once owned, lots of hard wearing plastic and light blue fabric. Well under the layer of grime and the smell.  The last owner was a smoker but thankfully with no dog. This may put off some buyers, but if the price is right… The mileage was just under 90,000 and the condition confirmed that pedal wear, seat bolsters, etc, etc..

The actual time it took me to assess all of that, about 30 secs.

So why so cheap?

The Mot is only 4 months, long enough to test the car, but short enough to perhaps be a problem. Yet the car is worth more than say a cheap hatchback as is it still retains value as a farm runabout or the basis for trials car. I have not mentioned the engine and that when buying privately is the last thing to look at.

The trick is to see how dirty it is under the bonnet. Dirt is good for it means that it has not had any major work done. Of course, it also means that it will need a complete service. The engine was warm, so sadly I could not hear a start from cold, but I could check antifreeze, oil, etc.… The seller had it in part exchange and was completely honest that needed a complete service, but had priced it to reflect this. Parts for service including a cam-belt kit will come to less than £100, sadly the radiator looked like it is on its last legs, so that will have to be budgeted for. But, as it is simple and accessible, a lot of the jobs will be fairly easy, and I have a secret weapon in a good friend who highly rates Vitara’s and has had several, he also happens to have a real passion for all things with wheels and tracks. Combined with his skill level and natural modesty a very useful person to know.

Which means that if I do the work on his driveway, I have access to his level of expertise. So the under bonnet condition did not worry me. Far better for it to need a service than to see the signs of lots of recent work. This all goes into the personal calculation of what a car is worth.

Then the question becomes, is my value close to the sellers.

We have to be fair, and oddly by doing that often a far better deal is possible. In this case, I paid what I expected too, the Vitara was marked up at £395, so the £45 off will cover the basic service excluding the cam-belt.

Is it a classic? I think so.  Like the Golf, it falls into the invisible status and that means that they are bargains at the moment.

A Tale of Two Pipes

 

img_1214

That sinking feeling was in my stomach as a couple of litres of petrol splashed on to forecourt.

Never before have I had a filler pipe disintegrate on a car. Some have leaked, but none have gone in such style. In a previous post, I described buying the Vitara. Now I wondered if I had made a mistake. After apologizing to the attendant I drove back to assess the problem.

Parked on the pavement outside my flat it was time to investigate.  In the fading light and rain coming down I got my spanners out. After struggling with three bolts the inner mudguard came out along with 2 kilos of mud. The pipe, well the slither of metal that remained meant that there was no chance to repair it…

A call to a friend confirmed my two choices, either replace or fabricate. It was time for a Scottish coffee and a little research. If the worse came to the worse it would be possible to make a new pipe using perhaps an offcut from an exhaust. The coffee now was not Scottish enough by a long way. Not having a workshop means that recreating the pipe would be a problem, but not impossible. The best option was to find a replacement, this is when living in Cornwall becomes a good and bad thing. The good is that I have ongoing relationships with local scrapyards. The bad is that if they do not have a part the rest of the country is long away from here.

‘One in the yard, £15 if you take it off.’

The sense of relief was immense, yes they had one. Now compared to what I would have paid from another local yard it was more expensive. But then they did not have one, and that yard did. An hour later I found myself in the sunshine removing the pipe. Clearly, in the past, this Vitara had suffered the same problem. The pipe was held on by jubilee clips and was in far better condition than the rest of the vehicle. So at £15, it was a bargain.

After popping into another parts supplier to say hello on the way home it was time fit the pipe. This only took a few minutes and it was time to get the Vitara earning its living.

Is the Vitara a pup?

At the moment the jury is still out, but I’m erring on no.

img_1219